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The Merchant turns culinary innovation on its head with Ruinart Upside Down Dinner

Belfast’s 5-star Merchant Hotel is joining forces with Ruinart Champagne to bring a culinary first to the city next week.

On Thursday 4th October, the exclusive Ruinart Champagne Upside Down Dinner Experience will bring guests on a gastronomic journey, with exquisite food and Champagne pairings, served up alongside an unexpected twist. The decadent 6-course menu promises to surprise and delight with dishes that are, ‘not quite what they seem’.

The chefs in the Great Room restaurant are busy making their final preparations for the event, which is being tipped as one of the most exciting culinary experiences in the city.

John-Paul Leake, Executive Chef, The Merchant Hotel said: “We’re really excited about this event, which will be a true showcase of the creativity and innovation of our chefs. Whilst we don’t want to ruin the surprise – which will be a big part of the theatrics of the evening – we can say this will be unlike any other menu served in The Great Room before.

“It’s got a different feel to it and the concept is a first for the UK and Ireland, which is very exciting. The flavour profile, the standard of food and the luxurious ingredients will all be consistent with what you would expect from The Merchant, but all will not be as it seems.

“This is a very interesting concept for us; when you look at it on paper, you can’t quite get your head around it but when you explain it a bit more, and hopefully when you visually see it, you think “wow!”. Then when you taste it, it will be even better.”

Vincent Borjon-Prive, Business Director, Moet Hennessy Ireland added: “We have chosen The Merchant Hotel to host the Ruinart Upside Down Dinner for two reasons; the first one being that we have a very long relationship at Ruinart with The Merchant Hotel, it’s our flagship venue in Northern Ireland, meaning that the team are our local ambassadors here.

“The second reason is about the chef, Johnny. At Ruinart, we believe that cooking is about caring and creating. Caring about people, as well as your environment, whilst creating priceless moments and emotions. Chef Johnny embodies these values very well. He works with local suppliers trying to find the finest products, with one obsession to create the ultimate experience for the consumers.”

Guests of the Ruinart Upside Down Dinner will be guided through special Champagnes from the house of Ruinart by Julie Dupouy, the third best sommelier in the world and best sommelier in Ireland since 2009. The menu will feature some very exclusive Champagnes, including one that is not currently available in Northern Ireland.

A limited number of tickets are still available for the Ruinart Upside Down Dinner at The Great Room restaurant on Thursday 4th October. Tickets cost £115 per person. To book tickets, please telephone The Great Room on 028 9023 4888. For further information, visit

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